NORTHFIELD. Minn. (KMSP) - Mike Eaves was fired as the University of Wisconsin men’s hockey coach less than a year ago, but he’s already behind the bench again in Minnesota.
The former Badgers coach and North Star player is now coaching hockey at St. Olaf College in Northfield, but he’s not the only Eaves helping the Oles.
Eaves has had a lot of firsts this season. He’s been washing and drying team jerseys, setting up lockers, ordering buses to games and buying equipment – to name just a few of the odd jobs at his new job. But there’s another, much more meaningful, “first” he’s experiencing this season: sharing the bench with his son, Ben.
Mike and his son, Ben, are the Oles’ new coaching dynamic duo – a combo that almost happened by chance.
“It was one of those things that kind of fell from the heavens,” Mike said. “I don’t think we ever talked about it. Then, one day Ben was looking for a job.”
While Ben was interviewing for the job, the St. Olaf athletics director started asking about his dad.
“[The athletics director] just asking what my dad was up to, if he had any plans, if he was looking towards the future,” Ben said. “He gave it some time, then brought it up and that led to a phone call and the ball kept on rolling.”
Mike says that he’s entering the third period of his college coaching journey, while the puck just dropped on Ben’s. But, before the horn sounds on this season they’re relishing in this rare opportunity to coach side-by-side.
“It’s very rare. I think it’s gone very well,” Mike said. “I think Ben puts it best, it’s bonus time for both of us. At the end of the day it’s family, and you can never get enough of it.”